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AT&T Inc.
Type Public (NYSET)
Founded October 5, 1983[1]
Headquarters Whitacre Tower
Dallas, Texas, United States
Area served Worldwide
Key people Randall L. Stephenson (Chairman, CEO & President)
Industry Telecommunications
Products Telephone
Revenue USD 119.3 Billion (2008)[2]
Operating income USD 18.165 Billion (2008)[2]
Net income USD $10.463 Billion (2008)[2]
Total assets USD $284.528 Billion (2008)
Total equity USD $112.518 Billion (2008)
Employees 294,600 (2009)
Whitacre Tower: AT&T's corporate headquarters in Dallas, Texas

AT&T Inc. (NYSET) is the largest provider of local and long distance telephone services in the United States, and also sells digital subscriber line Internet access and digital television service. AT&T is the second largest provider of wireless service in the United States, with over 85.1 million wireless customers, and more than 150 million total customers.[3] AT&T, Inc. was formed in 1983 as SBC Communications Inc. In 2005, AT&T converted to its current form when it purchased the former "Ma Bell" AT&T Corporation. The newly merged company took on the iconic AT&T moniker and T stock-trading symbol (for "telephone").

The current AT&T includes eleven of the original Bell Operating Companies, and the original. long distance division.[4] While it reconstitutes much of the former Bell System, AT&T Inc. lacks the vertical integration of the historic AT&T Corp., which prompted United States v. AT&T, the antitrust suit that led to the breakup in 1984[citation needed] (which was ultimately settled by the Modification of Final Judgment in 1982.) The company is headquartered in downtown Dallas, Texas.[5]

The company was honored at the 2008 Technology & Engineering Emmy Awards for development of coaxial cable technology.



AT&T Corporation acquisition

SBC-AT&T legacy transition logo, used 2005–2006

On January 31, 2005, SBC announced that it would purchase AT&T Corp. for more than USD $16 billion. The announcement came almost eight years after SBC and AT&T (also known as American Telephone & Telegraph Corp.) called off their first merger talks and nearly a year after initial merger talks between AT&T Corp. and BellSouth fell apart. AT&T stockholders, meeting in Denver, approved the merger on June 30, 2005. The U.S. Department of Justice cleared the merger on October 27, 2005, and the Federal Communications Commission approved it on October 31, 2005.

The merger was finalized on November 18, 2005.[6] Upon the completion of the merger, SBC Communications adopted the AT&T branding, and changed its corporate name to AT&T Inc. to differentiate the company from the former AT&T Corporation. On December 1, 2005, the merged company's New York Stock Exchange ticker symbol was changed from "SBC" to the traditional "T" used by AT&T.

The new AT&T updated the former AT&T's graphic logo; however the existing AT&T sound trademark (voiced by Pat Fleet) continues to be used.

BellSouth acquisition

On Friday December 29, 2006, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved the new AT&T's acquisition of regional Bell operating company BellSouth, valued at approximately $86 billion (or 1.325 shares of AT&T for each share of BellSouth at the close of trading December 29, 2006).[7] The new combined company retained the name AT&T.[8] The deal consolidated ownership of both Cingular Wireless and, once joint ventures between BellSouth and AT&T. All services, including wireless, became offered under the AT&T name.[9]

2007–2008 restructuring

Transition to new media

The AT&T tower in downtown Los Angeles, CA.

In June 2007, AT&T's new chairman and CEO, Randall Stephenson, discussed how wireless services are the core of "The New AT&T".[10] With declining sales of traditional home phone lines, AT&T plans to roll out various new media such as Video Share, U-verse, and to extend its reach in high speed Internet into rural areas across the country. AT&T announced on June 29, 2007, however, that it was acquiring Dobson Communications. It was then reported on October 2, 2007 that AT&T would purchase Interwise for $121 million, which it completed on November 2, 2007. On October 9, 2007, AT&T purchased 12 MHz of spectrum in the prime 700 MHz spectrum band from privately-held Aloha Partners for nearly $2.5 billion; the deal was approved by the FCC on February 4, 2008. On December 4, 2007 AT&T announced plans to acquire Edge Wireless, a regional GSM carrier in the Pacific Northwest.[11] The Edge Wireless acquisition was completed in April 2008.[12]

Payphone removal

Empty AT&T payphone booths in Kansas City, KS.

On December 3, 2007, AT&T announced it would remove all of its 65,000 remaining payphones by the end of 2008.[13] BellSouth already had removed its payphones years before being acquired by AT&T, and Qwest sold its pay telephone services in 2004. Verizon Communications will be the only Baby Bell that will continue to operate pay telephones following the removal of AT&T pay telephones,[14] and currently has no interest in leaving the business.[15]

Corporate headquarters move

On June 27, 2008, AT&T announced that it will move its corporate headquarters from 175 East Houston Street in San Antonio to One AT&T Plaza in Downtown Dallas.[5][16] The company said that it moved to gain better access to its customers and operations throughout the world, and to the key technology partners, suppliers, innovation and human resources needed as it continues to grow, domestically and internationally[17]

It is expected to involve about 700 of the company's nearly 6,000 San Antonio-based employees.[18]

AT&T Inc. previously relocated its corporate headquarters to San Antonio from St. Louis in 1992, when it was then named Southwestern Bell Corporation. The company's Telecom Operations group, which serves residential and regional business customers in 22 U.S. states, will remain in San Antonio.[citation needed]

Atlanta will continue to be the headquarters for AT&T Mobility, with significant offices in Redmond, Washington, the former home of AT&T Wireless. Bedminster, New Jersey will continue to be the headquarters for the company's Global Business Services group and AT&T Labs. St. Louis will continue as home to the company's Directory operations, AT&T Advertising & Publishing.[19]

Job cuts

On December 4, 2008, AT&T announced they would be cutting 12,000 jobs due to "economic pressures, a changing business mix and a more streamlined organizational structure".[20]

Post-consolidation wireless acquisitions

Cellular One acquisition

On June 29, 2007 AT&T announced that they had reached an agreement to purchase Dobson Cellular, which provided services in the US under the name Cellular One in primarily rural areas. The closing price was $2.8B USD, or $13 per share. AT&T also agreed to assume the outstanding debt of $2.3B USD. The sale completed on November 15, 2007, with market transition beginning December 9, 2007.[21]

Centennial acquisition

On November 11, 2008, AT&T announced a $944 million buyout of Centennial Communications Corp. The acquisition is subject to regulatory approval, the approval of Centennial’s stockholders and other customary closing conditions. Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe, Centennial’s largest stockholder, has agreed to vote in support of this transaction. In an attempt to quell regulators, on May 9, 2009 AT&T entered an agreement with Verizon Wireless to sell off certain existing Centennial service areas in the states of Louisiana and Mississippi for $240 million pending the successful merger of AT&T and Centennial.[22]

Wayport acquisition

On 12 December 2008, AT&T acquired Wayport, Inc., a major provider of Internet hotspots in the United States. With the acquisition, AT&T's public Wi-Fi deployment climbed to 20,000 hotspots in the United States, the most of any U.S. provider.[23]

Bell operating companies

AT&T payphone signage. Note that the coin return retains "Bell System made by Western Electric, quarter century after manufacturing was separated from the Bell Operating Companies via divestiture.

Of the twenty-two Bell Operating Companies which AT&T owned prior to the 1984 agreement to divest, eleven (BellSouth Telecommunications combines two former BOCs) have become a part of the new AT&T Inc. with the completion of their acquisition of BellSouth Corporation on December 29, 2006:[24]

Former operating companies

The following companies have gone to defunct status under SBC/AT&T ownership:

Corporate structure

AT&T office in San Antonio, Texas with new logo and orange highlight from the former Cingular

AT&T Inc. has retained the holding companies it has acquired over the years resulting in the following corporate structure:

Additionally, AT&T continues to host customer email addresses that were originally born from these companies. AT&T uses Yahoo! Mail hosting for its customers including those with these domain names: [1]


Corporate governance

Stephenson at the 2008 World Economic Forum

AT&T's current board of directors:

Criticism and controversies

Contributions to political campaigns

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, AT&T is the United States' second largest donor to political campaigns, having contributed more than US$ 36 million since 1990, 56% and 44% of which went to Republican and Democratic recipients, respectively. A key political issue for AT&T is the question of which businesses win the right to profit by providing broadband internet access in the United States.[25]

In 2005, AT&T was among 53 entities that contributed the maximum of $250,000 to the second inauguration of President George W. Bush.[26][27][28]

Censorship controversy

In August 2007, the band Pearl Jam performed in Chicago at Lollapalooza which was being web-broadcast by AT&T. The band, while playing the song "Daughter", started playing a version of Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall" but with altered lyrics critical of president George Bush. These lyrics included "George Bush, leave this world alone!" and, "George Bush, find yourself another home!". Listeners to AT&T's web broadcast heard only the first line because the rest was censored[29] although, AT&T spokesman Michael Coe said that the silencing was "a mistake."[30]

In September 2007, AT&T changed[31] their legal policy to state that "AT&T may immediately terminate or suspend all or a portion of your Service, any Member ID, electronic mail address, IP address, Universal Resource Locator or domain name used by you, without notice for conduct that AT&T believes"..."(c) tends to damage the name or reputation of AT&T, or its parents, affiliates and subsidiaries."[32] By October 10, 2007 AT&T had altered the terms and conditions for its Internet service to explicitly support freedom of expression by its subscribers, after an outcry claiming the company had given itself the right to censor its subscribers' transmissions.[33]

Section 5.1 of AT&T's new terms of service now reads "AT&T respects freedom of expression and believes it is a foundation of our free society to express differing points of view. AT&T will not terminate, disconnect or suspend service because of the views you or we express on public policy matters, political issues or political campaigns."[34]

On July 26, 2009, AT&T customers were unable to access certain sections of the image board 4chan, specifically /b/ (the "random" board) and /r9k/ (the "ROBOT 9000" board, a spin-off of the random board).[35] However, by the morning of Monday, July 27, the block had been lifted and access to the affected boards was restored. AT&T's official reason for the block was that a distributed denial of service attack had originated from the server, and access was blocked to stop the attack.[36] Major news outlets have reported that the issue may be related to DDoSing of 4chan and IP spoofing of 4chan and that the suspicions of 4chan users fell on the owner of for doing this.[37] Alm has been reported in the past to have DDoSed 4chan.[38]

Privacy controversy

In 2006, the Electronic Frontier Foundation lodged a class action lawsuit, Hepting v. AT&T, which alleged that AT&T had allowed agents of the National Security Agency (NSA) to monitor phone and Internet communications of AT&T customers without warrants. If true, this would violate the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 and the First and Fourth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. AT&T has yet to confirm or deny that monitoring by the NSA is occurring. In April 2006, a retired former AT&T technician, Mark Klein, lodged an affidavit supporting this allegation.[39][40] The Department of Justice has stated they will intervene in this lawsuit by means of State Secrets Privilege.[41]

In May 2006, USA Today reported that all international and domestic calling records had been handed over to the National Security Agency by AT&T, Verizon, SBC, and BellSouth for the purpose of creating a massive calling database.[42] The portions of the new AT&T that had been part of SBC Communications before November 18, 2005 were not mentioned.

On June 21, 2006, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that AT&T had rewritten rules on their privacy policy. The policy, which took effect June 23, 2006, says that "AT&T — not customers — owns customers' confidential info and can use it 'to protect its legitimate business interests, safeguard others, or respond to legal process.' "[43]

On August 22, 2007, National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell confirmed that AT&T was one of the telecommunications companies that assisted with the government's warrantless wire-tapping program on calls between foreign and domestic sources.[44]

On November 8, 2007, Mark Klein, a former AT&T technician, told Keith Olbermann of MSNBC that all Internet traffic passing over AT&T lines was copied into a locked room at the company's San Francisco office — to which only employees with National Security Agency clearance had access.[45]

Intellectual property filtering

In January 2008, the company reported plans to begin filtering all Internet traffic which passes through its network for intellectual property violations.[46] Commentators in the media have speculated that if this plan is implemented, it would lead to a mass exodus of subscribers leaving AT&T,[47] although this is misleading as Internet traffic may go through the company's network anyway.[46] Internet freedom proponents used these developments as justification for government-mandated network neutrality.

Discrimination against local public access channels

AT&T is accused by community media groups of discriminating against local public-access television, also known as PEG ("public, education, government") channels, by "imposing unfair restrictions that will severely restrict the audience".[48]

According to Barbara Popovic, Executive Director of the Chicago public-access service CAN-TV, the new AT&T U-verse system forces all public access television into a special menu system, denying normal functionality such as channel numbers, access to the standard program guide, and DVR recording.[48] The Ratepayer Advocates division of the California Public Utilities Commission reported: "Instead of putting the stations on individual channels, AT&T has bundled community stations into a generic channel that can only be navigated through a complex and lengthy process."[48]

Sue Buske (president of telecommunications consulting firm the Buske Group and a former head of the National Federation of Local Cable Programmers/Alliance for Community Media) argue that this is "an overall attack [...] on public access across the [United States], the place in the dial around cities and communities where people can make their own media in their own communities".[48]

Naming rights and sponsorships




AT&T sponsors the annual Red River Rivalry football game

See also


  1. ^ AT&T (2006-04-28). "SEC 8-K". Press release. Retrieved 2007-09-29. 
  2. ^ a b c AT&T (2008-01-24). "Investor Briefing (4th Quarter 2007)" (PDF). Press release. Retrieved 2008-02-06. 
  3. ^ "AT&T Sees Boost in wireless subscribers". 
  4. ^ Kleinfield, Sonny (1981). The biggest company on earth: a profile of AT&T. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston. ISBN 0-03-045326-7. 
  5. ^ a b Godinez, Victor and David McLemore. "AT&T moving headquarters to Dallas from San Antonio." The Dallas Morning News. Saturday June 28, 2008. Retrieved on June 18, 2009.
  6. ^ AT&T (2005-11-18). "New AT&T Launches". Press release. Retrieved 2007-09-29. 
  7. ^ Vorman, Julie (2006-12-29). "AT&T closes $86 billion BellSouth deal". Reuters. Retrieved 2007-09-29. ]
  8. ^ Bartash, Jeffry; Jonathan Burton (2006-03-05). "AT&T to pay $67 billion for BellSouth". Dow Jones Market Watch.{6E4D6E93-004F-4938-9692-B2704970428B}&siteid=mktw&dist=. Retrieved 2007-09-29. 
  9. ^ AT&T (2006-12-29). "AT&T and BellSouth Join to Create a Premier Global Communications Company". Press release. Retrieved 2007-09-29. 
  10. ^ "AT&T's new chief dialed in". Chicago Tribune. 24 June 2007.,0,3337832.story?track=rss. Retrieved 2007-06-27. 
  11. ^ "AT&T Buys Edge Wireless". Phone Scoop. 4 December 2007. Retrieved 2008-07-26. 
  12. ^ "AT&T completes buy out of Edge Wireless". American City Business Journals. 18 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-26. 
  13. ^ AT&T - News Room (December 3, 2007). AT&T Announces Intention to Withdraw from Pay Phone Business by End of 2008. Press release. Retrieved on December 16, 2007.
  14. ^ Smith, Andrew D. (December 4, 2007). AT&T to say goodbye to its 65,000 payphones. Dallas Morning News. Retrieved on December 16, 2007.
  15. ^ Hancock, Jay (December 6, 2007). Verizon: We're not dumping pay phones. The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved on December 16, 2007.
  16. ^ "Corporate Inquiries." AT&T. Retrieved on March 25, 2009.
  17. ^ Source: Dallas News
  18. ^ Belgrade, Kevin (June 27, 2008). "AT&T Corporate Headquarters to Move to Dallas". Retrieved 2009-08-21. 
  19. ^ AT&T - News Room (June 27, 2008). AT&T Corporate Headquarters to Move to Dallas. Press release. Retrieved on June 27, 2008.
  20. ^ AT&T (2008-12-04). "Job cuts mount as year-end nears". Press release. 
  21. ^ AT&T Inc. (2007-11-15). "AT&T Completes Acquisition of Dobson Communications to Enhance Wireless Coverage". Press release. Retrieved 2009-05-11. 
  22. ^ "AT&T Agrees to Sell Certain Centennial Communications Corp. Assets to Verizon Wireless" (Webpage). 2009-04-09. Retrieved 9 May 2009. 
  23. ^ AT&T Inc. (2008-12-12). "AT&T Advanced Wi-Fi Strategy". Press release. Retrieved 2008-12-22. 
  24. ^ "Agreements Between SNET America, Inc. (SAI) DBA AT&T Long Distance East, and AT&T Telephone Companies". AT&T. Retrieved 2007-09-29. 
  25. ^ "AT&T Inc". The Center For Responsive Politics. Retrieved 2007-09-29. 
  26. ^ Drinkard, Jim (2005-01-17). "Donors get good seats, great access this week". USA Today. Retrieved 2008-05-25. 
  27. ^ "Financing the inauguration". USA Today. Retrieved 2008-05-25. 
  28. ^ "Some question inaugural's multi-million price tag". USA Today. 2005-01-14. Retrieved 2008-05-25. 
  29. ^ Grossberg, Josh (2007-08-09). "AT&T's Pearl Jamming?". E Online. Retrieved 2007-09-29. 
  30. ^ Roberts, Michelle (2007-08-10). "AT&T: Pearl Jam edit a mistake". Associated Press. Retrieved 2007-09-29. 
  31. ^ AT&T threatens to disconnect subscribers who criticize the company
  32. ^ "AT&T Legal Policy". AT&T. Retrieved 2007-09-29. 
  33. ^ AT&T Changes Terms Of Service After Outcry
  34. ^ AT&T Legal Policy
  35. ^ Kincaid, Jason (July 26, 2009). "AT&T Reportedly Blocks 4chan. This Is Going To Get Ugly.". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2009-07-27. 
  36. ^ Cheng, Jacqui (July 27, 2009). "AT&T: 4chan block due to DDoS attack coming from 4chan IPs". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2009-07-28. 
  37. ^ Feared Hackers Call Off Attack on AT&T. Tuesday, July 28, 2009. Retrieved 7/28/09
  38. ^ When Your Pedicurist Is A Fish (dated July 22, 2008) Transcript of National Public Radio news interview. Retrieved 7/28/09
  39. ^ Nakashima, Ellen, "A Story of Surveillance", Washington Post, November 7, 2007
  40. ^ Singel, Ryan (2006-04-07). "Whistle-Blower Outs NSA Spy Room". Wired. Retrieved 2007-09-29. 
  41. ^ Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) (2006-04-28). "Government Moves to Intervene in AT&T Surveillance Case". Press release. Retrieved 2007-09-29. 
  42. ^ Cauley, Leslie (2006-05-11). "NSA has massive database of Americans' phone calls". USA Today. Retrieved 2007-09-29. 
  43. ^ Lazarus, David (2006-06-21). "AT&T rewrites rules: Your data isn't yours". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2007-09-29. 
  44. ^ Shrader, Katherine (2007-08-22). "Spy chief reveals classified surveillance details". Associated Press. Retrieved 2007-09-29. 
  45. ^ Olbermann, Keith (2007-11-08). "Whistleblower saw AT&T assist Bush administration". MSNBC. Retrieved 2007-11-10. 
  46. ^ a b Wu, Tim (2008-01-16). "Has AT&T Lost Its Mind? A baffling proposal to filter the Internet". Slate. 
  47. ^ AT&T's proposed filtering policy is bad news - Netiquette -
  48. ^ a b c d (March 9, 2009) "AT&T Accused of Discriminating Against Local Public Access Channels, Deadline for Public Comment Expires Tonight", Democracy Now!, retrieved on March 13, 2009.

External links

Corporate information

Simple English

AT&T Inc. (used to be called American Telegraph & Telephone) is the largest provider of both local and long distance telephone services, wireless service, and Internet access in the United States with 71.4 million customers.

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